THE Eurovision Song Contest divides opinion. Some people enjoy gaudy, usually godawful Europop, others don’t. Personally, I like it loads, and over the years I’ve shamelessly hosted my share of tacky Eurovision parties.

But let’s not pretend it’s all about the fun, instead of the politics. Eurovision voting is always marked by regional tensions, which is one reason Britain usually finishes near the bottom (the other reason? The great British public always vote for dull entries that range from insipid to inspirational-by-numbers, and, on my personal campy barometer, they don’t deserve to finish higher). The costumes are fun and to a lesser extent the music is fun, but geopolitical schadenfreude is also fun, and it’s pointless denying it.

This year’s Israeli winner, Toy, is intended as a political statement. However, so far, it has failed to divide opinion. The liberals love it because it celebrates the #MeToo movement and diversity. Conservatives love it because it represents the growing depoliticisation of Israel’s apartheid-oriented governments.

“I love my country!” screamed singer Netta Barzilai. It’s quite possible, of course, to love our country in a critical way, to be patriotic but critical of the imperial state (think Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA, a wonderful satire that was appallingly misrepresented by Ronald Reagan).

But Barzilai intends nothing of the sort. She recently performed at the 70th-anniversary “independence day” celebrations in Israel – celebrations, that is, of the Palestinian Nakba. And she’s looking forward to bringing the contest to Jerusalem, a hugely political statement as Donald Trump shifts America’s embassy to the illegal “capital” annexed by force in 1967.

The symbolism wasn’t lost on Israeli’s hard-right leadership. “These days Jerusalem is blessed with many gifts,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We got another one last night with Netta’s brilliant and explosive victory.”

Then yesterday, as two world leaders compared notes on building walls to keep out desperate and hungry people, Israeli forces mowed down another 55 helpless protesters in Gaza. Meanwhile, Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old girl accused of slapping an occupying Israeli soldier, has been sentenced to eight months in jail after a criminal “process” that allegedly involved sexual harassment as an interrogation technique. Meantime, the show must go on, and next year’s Eurovision will be a showcase for Israeli-American regional power politics.

The most interesting angle here, in my opinion, isn’t the outright Israeli nationalism of the winner, but the liberal Left’s casual indifference to it. Critical voices have been drowned out by the noisy celebration of the “diverse”, “gender-political” Eurovision winner.

Despite Israel’s illegal settlements and its succession of hard-right governments, the state has successfully branded itself as a mecca for LGBTQ inclusion. Critics call it “pinkwashing”, and this also has a Eurovision legacy, going back to the famous victory of Dana International.

This latest Israeli winner owes more to gender inclusion and the American liberalism embodied in the #MeToo movement. So I am calling it “wokewashing”. Woke, for the uninitiated, is essentially the current incarnation of the old phrase “right on”.

Originally deriving from the Black Lives Matter movement, but spreading like a virus on liberal arts campuses, it refers to those who self-consciously take up fights against forces of oppression. If Israel – more to the point, Jerusalem – can successfully rebrand itself as the capital of woke, then clearly something has gone wrong. Woke has a problem. We need to talk about woke.

One problem with the current liberal politics is that it completely fails to register the existence of imperialism. This explains why many right-on, self-conscious fighters of oppression chose Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders: they put the prospect of a woman in the White House over the prospect of striking a blow to the American war machine so zealously represented by Hillary.

Clinton’s brand of feminism, which reached its peak during the years around the millennium, happily subscribed to bombing in the name of humanitarian principle. Madeleine Albright, a self-declared elder statesperson of woke, told young women thinking of supporting Sanders that there was a special place in hell for those who voted against their gender. Also, famously, when asked about America’s sanctions regime that killed 500,000 Iraqi children, she said, “We think the price is worth it”.

After Iraq, people in their millions saw through this glib “humanitarian” agenda. Imperialism was again in question. However, some of the political lessons weren’t driven home. Some of the younger generation are too young to remember the Iraq War, never mind the Second Intifada. Once again, identity politics is being called in to do the bidding of imperial states.

In that context, liberals celebrate the “politicisation” of Eurovision, meaning the breakthrough of #MeToo into the pop mainstream.

It barely seems to matter that the message comes wrapped in a package of Israeli nationalism, just as the American state abandons all pretext of impartiality in the so-called “peace process”.

Woke has become Israel’s big tourist branding strategy. Adverts for Tel Aviv’s LGBTQ clubs, bars and restaurants proliferate in glossy magazines. It barely matters that a succession of right-wing governments have slaughtered innocent protesters and colonised more Palestinian land.

Netta Barzilai isn’t your toy, and that, in its own way, is a good thing. But the Palestinians are the toys no-one wants to play with, handled roughly when they’re visible, but mostly thrown into the back of cupboard and forgotten about. Next year, when Eurovision comes to Israel, during the 70th anniversary of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, I hope we’ve all got the good grace to feel a little ashamed. If this is the Europe we’re fighting to preserve, then God help us.